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Tax man reaping little in return for extra spending - Nash

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The National Government has more than doubled the amount it spends chasing tax debt but the level of outstanding tax remains at a near record high, Labour MP Stuart Nash says.

"Answers to written questions from Labour show the Inland Revenue is now spending $90 million a year chasing tax debt, up from $38 million in 2009.

"However, the amount of tax outstanding for the past financial year is $5.03 billion - second only to 2012 when $5.06 billion was owed.

"The Inland Revenue spends $90 million chasing debt but has no process and makes no effort to return the $750 million it currently holds in overpaid taxes.

"The irony is that the IRD is using substantial unclaimed taxes to fund tax collection of those who aren’t paying. Surely, the right thing to do is put as much effort into returning overpaid taxes as they put into chasing those who haven’t paid.

"This is also a department that spent over $59 million on consultants and contractors last year; or $285 million since National came to office. That included $31 million on consultants and contractors for ‘specialist advice and project management’. It also spent a further $2.2m on property advice and $2.2m on human resources and change management services.

"Let’s hope this pricey change management advice included advising Revenue Minister Todd McLay about the type of proactive tax services New Zealanders would like to see.

"That includes developing a process to give money back as well as collect it and putting a cap on the outrageous consultants bills being racked up by his Ministry, Stuart Nash says.

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